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Massachusetts Arrest Records

Massachusetts arrest records refer to an individual’s arrest history, including information on whether they are held for questioning, booked, or were detained due to a misdemeanor, felony, or any other offense. 

An arrest record in the state contains the following information:

  • Personal information, including the full name and date of birth
  • Specifics of the crime or reason for arrest
  • Date, time, and location of arrest
  • Arresting officer
  • Name of the judge or magistrate who issued the warrant
  • Detention information

Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Massachusetts arrest records are public and are available through a records request at law enforcement agencies like the county’s sheriff or the county of clerks. 


What Laws Govern Arrests in Massachusetts?

Like other states, an arrest is made once a law enforcement officer has secured a warrant of arrest from a judge or magistrate. There are cases when a law enforcer can arrest an offender even without a warrant due to the following reasons:

  • A family member is in danger of being or has been abused 
  • A person has committed assault and battery 
  • A person has violated a no-contact or restraining order
  • A person has committed a misdemeanor or felony in the presence of a law enforcement officer

A private citizen may also lawfully arrest an offender who has committed a felony like any of the following:

  • Child endangerment
  • assault and battery leading to serious bodily injury
  • Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon
  • Sexual assault
  • Indecent assault
  • Child pornography
  • Rape
  • Possession of illegal drugs with intent to distribute or sell
  • Homicide
  • Homicide by motor vehicle


What Is the Arrest Booking Process in Massachusetts?

Once arrested, an individual is immediately taken to the police station for the booking process. Typically, the process includes basic questioning for the biographical information of the arrestee, getting their fingerprints and mugshots, and performing a body search. The gathered information is often cross analyzed with the available police database to check for priors. 

Once everything is done, a commissioner will be called to set bail. A statutory fee of $40 applies to arrest in Massachusetts. However, domestic violence offenders need to wait six hours for the cooling-off period to see if bail can be set. Until then, the arrestee shall be detained at the police station until they are able to post bail.  


What Are Massachusetts Mugshot Records?

Mugshots are photographs of individuals at the time of their arrest to show their physical condition and help law enforcement authorities identify them using physical descriptors. Under state law, mugshots are not specifically considered a public record. However, public records such as criminal records, arrest records, and sex offender registries contain mugshots making them accessible to the public. In some cases, individuals can also access mugshots using third-party sites. 


How Long Does an Arrest Record Stay in Massachusetts?

An arrest record will stay active in Massachusetts unless they are expunged or sealed from the public. Once the records are expunged or sealed, the record will be as if it never existed. However, they may still be accessible to law enforcement agencies when needed. 

Depending on the type of crime and the resulting convictions, arrest records can stay from three to seven years or more until successfully expunged from the record. 


How To Expunge an Arrest Record in Massachusetts

Depending on the type of crime and convictions, individuals in the state can seal their arrest records if they are eligible. 

For individuals guilty of misdemeanors, expungement is available after three (3) years of a guilty verdict or after completing jail or prison time, whichever date is later. 

For individuals guilty of a felony, expungement is available after seven (7) years of a guilty verdict or after completing jail or prison time, whichever date is later. 

To expunge an arrest record, individuals must send their request to the Boston Municipal Court (BMC) using the appropriate forms:

Non-convictions are cases when an individual has any of the following results:

  • Not guilty
  • Failure to indict resulting in no bill
  • Case dismissed without any probation
  • No probable cause
  • Noelle prosequi, or the prosecution or plaintiff abandoned all or part of the prosecution

Petitions to expunge Massachusetts arrest records are free of charge in the state and must be sent via mail addressed to the Office of the Commissioner of Probation. 

Office of the Commissioner of Probation
One Ashburton Place, Room 405
Boston, MA 02108

Aside from the accomplished expungement form, an individual must also send a copy of their criminal record and any other supporting documents to expunge the arrest records. 


How To Search Massachusetts Arrest Records?

Requestors may search for their Massachusetts arrest records through the office of the county sheriff, the office of the clerk of court, the state department of police, or use third-party sites which offer the same information. 

Arrest record information is also available using the criminal offender record information (iCORI) database of the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS).

Counties in Massachusetts

Jails and Prisons in Massachusetts

South Middlesex Correctional Center135 Western Avenue, PO Box 850, Framingham, MA
Northeastern Correctional Center1 Barretts Mill Road, PO Box 1069, West Concord, MA
Middlesex County MA Jail and House of Correction269 Treble Cove Road, Billerica, MA
Massachusetts Correctional Institution - Concord965 Elm Street, PO Box 9106, Concord, MA
Massachusetts Correctional Institution - Framingham99 Loring Drive, PO Box 9007, Framingham, MA
Souza-Baranowski Correctional CenterState Rd, PO Box 8000, Shirley, MA
Massachusetts Correctional Institution - Shirley1 Harvard Rd, PO Box 1218, Shirley, MA
Mass. Juvenile Detention - Worcester MAWallace Ave, Fitchburg, MA
North Central Correctional Institution500 Colony Road, PO Box 466, Gardner, MA